Researchers use lasers to regrow parts of teeth - New York News

Researchers use lasers to regrow parts of teeth

Posted: Updated:
By FOX NEWS -

For the millions of Americans who suffer cavities each year, the ominous threat of a root canal may soon be a worry of the past.

Now, researchers from Harvard University claim they have discovered a novel way of regrowing parts of people’s teeth using an unlikely tool: Lasers.

In a new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, lead researcher Praveen Arany and colleagues detailed how they used focused laser light therapy on rats to stimulate the growth of lost dentin, the calcified tissue that comprises teeth. They noted that if the therapy proves effective in humans, it could potentially eliminate the need for crowns, fillings and other complex dental operations in the future.

The procedure’s success all revolves around a native protein called transforming growth factor beta, or TGF-beta. During preliminary tests of dentin tissues, the researchers discovered that this growth factor changed very drastically when introduced to a focused beam of light. Further analysis revealed that when hit with light, TGF-beta actually stimulated the stem cells already present in dentin.

“Once [TGF-beta] is activated by the laser, it can bind to stem cells resident in the tissue, and then it induces those stem cells to differentiate so they can proliferate and reform dentin,” David Mooney, the Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering at Harvard University, told FoxNews.com.

Numerous studies have focused on ways to manipulate stem cells in order to spur tissue regeneration, but most of these techniques have revolved around reintroducing altered stem cells into the patient or directing stem cell populations externally through added growth factors. With this form of laser therapy, the only external factor that is being introduced is light, which activates TGF-beta that’s already in the body.

According to Mooney, it’s not the laser’s heat that stimulates TGF-beta but the energy of its photons. When light is focused on dentin, the photons get absorbed into the tissue and activate molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS), which naturally occur in the body. These ROS then stimulate TGF-beta, which spurs the chain reaction ultimately leading to dentin reformation.

However, Mooney noted that the power of the laser must be at a specific level of intensity and cannot produce any heat in order to be effective.

“It’s kind of like Goldilocks, too little won’t do enough and too much will become destructive,” Mooney said. “It has to be just right.”

To test their light therapy’s effectiveness, the researchers created a group of rats with tooth defects, by using a drill to remove pieces of their dentin. They then shined a laser on their exposed tooth structures and soft tissues underneath it. Sure enough, after 12 weeks, the team observed that new dentin had formed in the rats’ teeth.

Read More

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Friday Night Live: July 25, 2014

    Friday Night Live: July 25, 2014

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:31 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:31:59 GMT
    This is Fox 5's Friday Night Live, a weekly celebration of the end of the work week. All summer long, the Fox 5 team brings you the latest in entertainment, nightlife, food, and music in our area. In this jam-packed episode: QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, Stephen "Twitch" Boss, actress Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Michael Chernow and Chef Daniel Holzman of the Meatball Shop.
    This is Fox 5's Friday Night Live, a weekly celebration of the end of the work week. All summer long, the Fox 5 team brings you the latest in entertainment, nightlife, food, and music in our area. In this jam-packed episode: QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, Stephen "Twitch" Boss, actress Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Michael Chernow and Chef Daniel Holzman of the Meatball Shop.
  • G subway line shutting down for 5 weeks

    G subway line shutting down for 5 weeks

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:37 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:37:26 GMT
    Beginning Friday night, a portion of the G subway line that connects Brooklyn and Queens will be shut down for five weeks.
    The MTA says there will be no service between the Nassau Avenue station in Greenpoint and Court Square in Long Island City until Sept. 2.
    Beginning Friday night, a portion of the G subway line that connects Brooklyn and Queens will be shut down for five weeks.
    The MTA says there will be no service between the Nassau Avenue station in Greenpoint and Court Square in Long Island City until Sept. 2.
  • The Big Idea

    Making New York City more energy efficient

    Making New York City more energy efficient

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:45 PM EDT2014-07-26 00:45:49 GMT
    More than half the population of New York City rides public transportation to work. No other metropolis in this country even approaches that percentage or the MTA's total number of riders. For that reason, New York likely ranks as the most energy-efficient city in the nation. But what would it take to make the city even more energy-efficient or even self-sufficient?
    More than half the population of New York City rides public transportation to work. No other metropolis in this country even approaches that percentage or the MTA's total number of riders. For that reason, New York likely ranks as the most energy-efficient city in the nation. But what would it take to make the city even more energy-efficient or even self-sufficient?
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices